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Are your office toilets up to scratch?

Recent research suggests that many British businesses are not meeting minimum standards on office toilets, leaving employees with sub-standard facilities and long waits for cubicles.

Initial Washroom Hygiene carried out the research and found that over one fifth of small businesses are not meeting legal requirements for the number of toilets in their office, consequently causing queues at the loos. More than half of those surveyed said they regularly had to wait to use the washroom facilities in their office, wasting an average of almost seven minutes each week (equating to over five hours per year) doing so.

Furthermore, one fifth of SME employees (19%), are unhappy with the standard of washrooms at their workplace. Of those that are unhappy, two fifths (41%) say it is because there are not enough toilets, so you have to wait to use the washroom. Another two fifths (39%) say their surfaces are unclean.

According to HSE guidelines from the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the number of toilets provided by small businesses for employees must increase in line with the number of employees. Any business with more than five employees, for example, must have at least two toilets available, increasing to a minimum of five for businesses of 76-100 employees. More than one in five of the small business workers questioned said that their employer did not reach the number of toilets required by law. The guidelines also require employers to keep their washrooms in a ‘clean and orderly condition’, but 19% of employees said that this was not the case in their workplace.

Washroom facilities that adhere to regulation will ensure that visitors leave with an enhanced sense of wellbeing. Poor hand hygiene is the major cause of office illness, so the correct amenities such as plenty of good quality soap from dispensers, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment should be readily available to minimise the spread of infection. A shabby, under-stocked, or unavailable washroom can paint a business in a very bad light. The washroom is often the first and last place a customer will see when visiting your office, and as we all know, these first and last impressions count for a lot.

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